18 Replies Latest reply on May 7, 2015 9:06 AM by Szalam

    After Effects preview help

    philip242

      I'm struggling to understand how my AE play and preview performance is so bad. I've seen the generic posts on AE performance but I'm wondering if I'm doing something pathologically wrong here given the severity of the problem.

       

      I'm new to AE on the Mac, I used it some on the PC. I have a new iMac 5k 4GHz w/ 32GB RAM. I'm running After Effects CC 2014. I've loaded in a 21 second 1920x1080 @60Hz clip. I've not touched anything beyond loading in the clip, not created any content at all, yet it plays back with RAM preview at 10Hz.


      I set the image preview size to custom 25x25 pixels, so the image I'm looking at is something you might see on an old Commodore 64:


      Screen Shot 2015-05-04 at 8.46.30 PM.png


      And it still only goes 30Hz.


      Is there some default setting that could be sinking my performance? Or is 1920x1080@60 just not going to play back?

        • 1. Re: After Effects preview help
          imeilfx Adobe Community Professional

          It should playback correctly but to say what could be issue with your playback please send us some more specs:

          - how many discs you have on your comp?

          - is any of your disc SSD or just Hdd

          - if you have only HDDs tell us if you have any other software that is reading/writing on that disc when you try to play that clip on AE

           

          In my opinion in your case the HDD will be that bottle neck that slow down everything.

          • 2. Re: After Effects preview help
            Mylenium Most Valuable Participant

            There are several bugs in the respective graphics drivers for 5k Macs that drag down performance of Adobe products. this also affects Photoshop, Lightroom and Illustrator even.

             

            Mylenium

            • 3. Re: After Effects preview help
              Andrew Yoole MVP & Adobe Community Professional

              As Mylenium suggests, this may be an issue related to the 5K display. 

               

              Just for troubleshooting's sake, try switching your screen resolution to a more conventional setting, like 1920x1080 for example, restart After Effects and see if you get better results.  Or, if you have access to a second conventional resolution monitor, plug that in and see if it previews okay there.

              • 4. Re: After Effects preview help
                philip242 Level 1

                There is nothing in my composition except this single MOV, that is I just imported and did zero work on it. The drive is a 3TB internal fusion drive.  I'm skeptical the drive is the problem because I can playback the MOV in quicktime completely fine.

                 

                Also not sure what AE is doing during the preview but my display is set to an impossible low resolution (preview) so you'd think it would optimize for that resolution.  That is, once the preview is computed you'd think it would only be reading the low res version off disc.

                 

                Not to mention the 21 second file is 60MB on disk. With 32GB of RAM once would store 500 separate copies of the video in RAM. Not that it works like that, but still you can see how it's frustrating.

                 

                5k drivers is an idea. I have all auto-updates on so I assume I have latest, but I don't know how to check. It would surprise me in Apple's 5k imac which was been out a while now is completely unusable with all Adobe products, wouldn't it? Wouldn't someone have reported that?

                 

                Thanks for ideas. Sorry just very frustrated. Bought this mac a while ago and just fired up AE for the first time excepting to knock out a for-fun project, instead find out I've got a boat anchor here. I've got my 5 year old PC over under a pile junk I could dig it out, it was faster.

                • 5. Re: After Effects preview help
                  philip242 Level 1

                  Setting to a lower res sounds like a good test. But from the System Prefs -> Displays there is no obvious way to set it to a lower resolution.  I just have resolution choices "Default " or "Scaled" but scaled as no resolutions listed just various text sizes.  Maybe choosing a big text size here means lower res? But certainly there is no 1920x1080 or any other numbers list. Sorry I'm new to modern macs.

                   

                  I have lots of other monitors but no thunderbolt 2 cables/adapters. Also seems like a good thing to try though.

                   

                  Thanks for ideas.

                  • 6. Re: After Effects preview help
                    philip242 Level 1

                    I checked CC thing and there was an update for AE. Still called AE CC 2014 which is confusing. Installed it.

                     

                    But more than that I'm not positive I was using RAM Preview before. I was using Preview and letting it go all green then playing again (so it's playing green), but the RAM preview I take it is different.

                     

                    Using the RAM preview button and letting to go a second time I can get 60Hz playing with full resolution.

                     

                    Regular preview is 14-30Hz regardless of how coarse the preview resolution is.

                     

                    So I don't know, is the moral with my hardware that RAM preview is required 100% of the time and preview is essentially for slow-motion use only? I guess I could live with that.

                    • 7. Re: After Effects preview help
                      Zino_VL Level 1

                      I'm wondering. How is Preview Resolution/Down Sample Factor set? If you set it to Full? I'm using AE CC2014 on an iMac myself and yes ... previewing stuff on Full is painfully slow. Turning it down could solve your problem.

                       

                      Have you tried fiddling around with your cache and/or cleaning it? (AE > Preferences > Media & Disk Cache)

                      • 8. Re: After Effects preview help
                        philip242 Level 1

                        I cleaned the disk cache. I only have the one 3TB fusion drive so not sure what else I could change.

                         

                        Basically now:

                        RAM Preview is fine: full resolution at 60Hz

                        Regular preview is slow: as slow as 14Hz even when the resolution is down to 99x99 pixel blocks (the biggest it will go).  My preview looks like this:

                         

                        Screen Shot 2015-05-05 at 8.59.24 PM.png

                         

                        I find it very hard to believe AE cannot render an EMPTY composition at the above quality level in real-time. This is like Atari 800 level graphics as I think I mentioned

                         

                        But I'm out of excuses since RAM preview works I should be able to do my project, so I will just go with the assumption (until proven otherwise) that preview is useless and RAM preview is required to see full motion video.

                        • 9. Re: After Effects preview help
                          Zino_VL Level 1

                          Your Preview Resolution/Down Sample Factor is set to a third or half and you still get this? I'll try to google your problem but it surely beats me at the moment.

                          • 10. Re: After Effects preview help
                            philip242 Level 1

                            In the above screen shot my preview resolution is 99x99 pixels! Way lower than a quarter. But yes whether it's half, quarter or Mr. Mosaic up there preview is never better than 30Hz and often below 15Hz.

                             

                            But RAM Preview is 60Hz even at full resolution.

                             

                            So I don't know how people find Preview vs. RAM Preview to be. Maybe Preview is just known to be slower than real-time always, and that's why they have RAM Preview?

                            • 11. Re: After Effects preview help
                              Szalam Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                              philip242 wrote:

                               

                               

                              So I don't know how people find Preview vs. RAM Preview to be. Maybe Preview is just known to be slower than real-time always, and that's why they have RAM Preview?

                               

                              Yes.

                              • 12. Re: After Effects preview help
                                Rick Gerard Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                First, let's fix your video vocabulary. Footage runs in frames per second not Hz. There's no such thing as 30Hz video. Also, when you say preview I'm assuming you mean pressing the space bar, which is not a preview, just a way to automatically go from rendering one frame to the rendering the next.

                                 

                                Second, I'm not sure what you are trying to do. Set resolution to Auto, use Ram Preview to preview video. 60 fps is probably really 59.97 fps interlaced and even if it is progressive footage, 99% of the time when you deliver the footage to the web or through a media player it's going to playback at 29.97 fps so unless you know exactly what you are doing and your playback system is set up for high frame rate playback you should be working with standard frame rates.

                                 

                                If you are trying to see better while just dragging the CTI around the timeline then adjust your adaptive resolution in preferences. You'll be completely frustrated with AE if you don't take the time to go through the basics of how the program works. Please go through some getting started materials.

                                • 13. Re: After Effects preview help
                                  Szalam Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                  Rick Gerard wrote:

                                   

                                  . Please go through some getting started materials.

                                  Good suggestion. I'd recommend this one: Getting started with After Effects

                                  • 14. Re: After Effects preview help
                                    philip242 Level 1

                                    Szalam wrote:

                                     

                                    Yes.

                                    Okay. I think to a newcomer "preview" and "RAM preview" are bad terms. In Word Processing when you do "print preview" it's showing you what it's going to look like when printed. I would expect "preview" would show me what it's going to look like when rendered.

                                     

                                    Instead "preview" is basically "this is exactly what it's not going to look like at all" and "RAM Preview", where RAM is a horribly unnecessary implementation detail, is the preview. Maybe call then "Slow Play" and "Preview". Or "Inspect" and "Preview".

                                     

                                    But I know none of us here wrote the program. And I actually did a few hours work with it and found it quite usable. Just used Preview for slow motion inspection and RAM Preview to see what it will really look like. So it certainly works once you have the right mental model.

                                     

                                    I think it's just not good product design. But many 10+ year old programs have design quirks that are strictly historical that no one wants to change because people would complain.

                                    • 15. Re: After Effects preview help
                                      philip242 Level 1

                                      Footage runs in frames per second not Hz. There's no such thing as 30Hz video.


                                      Thanks. I work with real-time 3d graphics and we use Hz. But I can see FPS is more accurate in this world.

                                       

                                      Also, when you say preview I'm assuming you mean pressing the space bar, which is not a preview, just a way to automatically go from rendering one frame to the rendering the next.


                                      No I meant pressing the play button in the Preview box. Since the box is labeled Preview I figured it was a Preview

                                       

                                      Second, I'm not sure what you are trying to do. Set resolution to Auto, use Ram Preview to preview video.

                                       

                                      Yup that is the whole take away.  Use RAM Preview to Preview, and use Preview to "review in slow motion". At least on my machine.

                                       

                                      You'll be completely frustrated with AE if you don't take the time to go through the basics of how the program works. Please go through some getting started materials.

                                       

                                      Yes thanks I will. I just panic'd because there was no point reading anything or using the program at all if it was limited to 10Hz playback, i.e. if my machine was hosed. So RAM Preview to the rescue. Thanks I appreciate it. I think Adobe could explain the distinction a lot clearer, but it's one of those things once you know, you are fine.

                                      • 16. Re: After Effects preview help
                                        Szalam Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                        philip242 wrote:

                                         

                                        Okay. I think to a newcomer "preview" and "RAM preview" are bad terms.

                                        ...

                                        I think it's just not good product design. But many 10+ year old programs have design quirks that are strictly historical that no one wants to change because people would complain.

                                        Well, good news! AE is completely reworking how Previews happen to make the whole program much more modern, much quicker, and much easier for newcomers! The next version of AE is completely different in how it previews. Check it out here: next major update for After Effects CC revealed

                                         

                                        For good materials to get started, this is the fastest free way I know to get up to speed: Getting started with After Effects | After Effects region of interest Other than how AE previews, all of this will apply to the upcoming version too (and even the previewing part is useful to know for the current version).

                                        • 17. Re: After Effects preview help
                                          philip242 Level 1
                                          Well, good news! AE is completely reworking how Previews happen to make the whole program much more modern, much quicker, and much easier for newcomers! The next version of AE is completely different in how it previews. Check it out here: next major update for After Effects CC revealed

                                           

                                          That's really cool, thanks. Yeah it says "we took the opportunity to address many sources of confusion by simplifying the preview system"... nice.


                                          I already watched some specific technique videos, but maybe need more basics. Videos are great for tools like AE. I would feel bad for someone that tries to learn just by reading the manual.


                                          I am trying to duplicate an effect from Power Rangers which is a great source of cheesy but fun special effects. I found a Chinese symbol and chopped it up into layers. Then I a reveal them while my son swipes his hands around, one brush stroke at a time. Then it animates into his face and some kind of flash and the power ranger mask appears (jump cut). I'm not done yet, but off to a good start.

                                          • 18. Re: After Effects preview help
                                            Szalam Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                            philip242 wrote:

                                            I am trying to duplicate an effect from Power Rangers which is a great source of cheesy but fun special effects. I found a Chinese symbol and chopped it up into layers. Then I a reveal them while my son swipes his hands around, one brush stroke at a time. Then it animates into his face and some kind of flash and the power ranger mask appears (jump cut). I'm not done yet, but off to a good start.

                                            That sounds like a lot of fun!

                                             

                                             

                                            philip242 wrote:


                                            I already watched some specific technique videos, but maybe need more basics. Videos are great for tools like AE. I would feel bad for someone that tries to learn just by reading the manual.

                                            That set of resources I linked should be perfect for you!